Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Camping we will go!

The kids practised with the tent so they would be ready this weekend for Flagstaff. The lows are gonna be in the high 30's.

I can't wait!!

And they also were playing "veggie co-op" yesterday and received their basket of veggies so they could cook dinner.
I kinda like their basket better than mine because everything is washed and cut already.

(We won't tell Daddy that we got a burger in our basket this week...;)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mmm Mexican!

We have loved Mexican food for some time now in our house and it is naturally vegan!
(Well, some of it..)
So it has been easy to adapt to vegan my favorite Mexi dishes.
For example:

2 avocados
1 tom
1/2 onion

fist full of cilantro

a sliced and seeded random pepper or two
squeeze or two of lemon or lime juice

Toss all in Cuisinart until consistency you enjoy!

C loves helping with this.
I have adapted my 'recipe' just from looking at other recipes and trial and error. Guacamole is extremely easy to make. If you don't mind it, some people (and MOST stores) throw in sour cream, so check your ingredients list if you're buying it.

To go along with this, we made some tortilla chips from leftover corn tortillas

I always have plenty of help with that one:Slice them into triangles, splash with oil (canola or olive for variety), toss salt (lots!) and squeeze a little lime juice over them for taste. I bake at 450 for about 5-7 minutes, then broil for a very short couple more minutes until starting to brown, remove before they burn.
Finished product, yummy bowl

Another thing that we have adapted and make is

Rice Pudding
3 cups of cooked rice
1 Quart of rice milk
1/4 C of maple syrup (or brown rice syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 C raisins

Bring rice and rice milk to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, stirring all the time.
Add remaining ingredients, remove from heat and cool. Chill in refer for at least 2 hour.

We made this last night and finished it off for breakfast today

Have a good holiday weekend

Friday, May 23, 2008

Desert Gardening

I don't want you to get the idea from the post title that I have the slightest idea how to grow anything in the desert southwest...

I rely on others for that.
We have been composting and pot gardening this year.
(I almost can't resist the urge to say, "She said 'pot'!")

ANYWAY, we have planted a few seedlings that were bequeathed to us from our friend Eddie and I hope that we can keep them going. We planted toms, peppers, and flower seeds. We also have a rescue plant, a parsley that was headed for the great big compost in the sky via Home Depot's trash.
The kiddos like watering them and checking them daily. They are excited to see how much they've grown each day and to check the soil.
The girl really likes watering the compost too. She has learned to hold her hand above the pile to feel the heat emanating from it.

So, yeah, it's not gonna feed our family (Not even one of us..) this year, but we'd like to get at least back to where we were 10 years ago.
Bryce and I had a rocking little patch. We even grew corn that year!
ONE monsoon wiped 75% of it out...we were actually in a plane circling the airport, unable to land because of the extreme gusts below..oye

So here's a sampling from my friend Sandy's garden.
She is the closest thing to a pioneer that I know. She single handedly raises enough stuff to feed a few families worth of people.

Upon us all a little rain must fall

This is the mystery of the quotient-
Upon us all a little rain
Must fall.
Just a little rain?
~ Robert Plant

Being as it was 111 degrees here on tuesday...
Today's weather was, um surprising.

It was only 52 degrees at 7pm and it has been raining since early afternoon.
It is AWESOME!!!

The kids were loving it

There was a lot of stomping in the puddles after dinner. (Which are three times that size now!)
And then a hot bath was in order.
Both were out right after reading tonight.
I mopped the floor but I know that will be a futile attempt to keep out the muddy mess tomorrow.
Ahh, off to smell the backyard again!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Few random quotes I have been tossing about:

Be the example; spread hope.
Cat Cora- Iron Chef, executive chef at Bon Appetit magazine, and president and founder of Chefs for Humanity.

When I wake up in the morning, I want to know that my family, friends and fans know what I'm all about. That's what should be important.
Robert Randolph, musician

(Both from Starbucks cups--some of my favorite quotes of all time)

Monday, May 19, 2008

A day in the life, Today

The good thing:

We made a huge batch of tomato sauce today:
Had plenty of fodder for the compost
I am REALLY trying to keep up with that (compost) but today I just decided to 'let everything go' so right now, there are piles of compostable material in closed containers on my patio...a full load of diapers hanging outside and my wash piles are stagnating. The kitchen floor is disgusting. There has been chocolate milk, rice milk, coffee, cereal, salt, glitter glue, cooked rice, and crushed tortilla chips tossed down there today...
Earlier, there were also a good amount of crayons and books there also. C actually fell and split his bottom lip open after sliding on a crayon.

Of course, it's not gonna go away so probably sometime before the weekend, it will get to me (or I'll stick to the floor enough times) and I'll end up cleaning it up..

Here's the recipe for the tom sauce:
It is vegan and easy and tasty. My three favorite things!

Basic Tomato Sauce

5-6lbs Toms (if canned, thick puree or combo)

2TBSP olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves minced

1 1/2 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp dried oregano

½ C shredded fresh basil leaves or ¾ tsp dried

Fresh ground black pepper

¼ C chopped fresh parsley

1. Peel toms and blanch to skin them, chop coarsely and set aside

2. Heat oil in large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add onions sauté until wilted, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes more.

3. Add toms, salt, sugar 3 Tabs fresh basil or all of the dried and the oregano. Raise heat slightly, bring to a boil. Boil uncovered, stirring frequently until liquid has reduced to a thick puree, 20-25 minutes. Add pepper, parsley, remaining fresh basil, and salt. Remove from heat. This sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator or can be frozen or canned.

**Makes about 3 pints

I used about 87 Roma toms and a whole lot more herb (oregano, basil, parsley) than it calls for and added mushrooms to half of it. I have already given away 2 pints. Some of my 'friends' are denying me the opportunity to gift them. I think they're afraid my culinary skills will out shine theirs...Whatever!

At least something came out of today.

My goal tomorrow is to get out of the house before anything goes south (read:hits the floor)

I'm gonna drag them to story time and hopefully Target so I can get myself a new swim suit top. Mine is from when I was pregnant with C. It's time to move on...I hope that with a little bribing that we'll go play/swim/get wet somewhere after that, we'll be good to go..

Friday, May 16, 2008

TV Free- week 2

So, L told me a couple of times this week that she is glad the TV is gone. She says she misses watching movies sometimes but, "I like to read more mommy."
We went to the pool for the first time today and it was just as awesome as we remember it!

We saw our old friends who live near there also.

SO we really are trying to do other things.
  • we planted a bunch of tomato seedlings (and they are actually taking!)
  • have tried to stay on top of our compost
  • hacked the side yard plants down
  • sewed a 1st bday present for a friend
  • got cracking on estimates for the master bath remodel (who knew all of the ideas we would hear and the cost we could incur here!)
  • walked and rode bikes (dusted off the trailer)
  • cooked and baked after cleaning out the fridge (some lovely baby bok below)
  • shopped for cars (more on that in another post)
  • entertained and visited numerous friends
  • and just rested some. And some more, leisurely
So I have felt pretty productive even though there is not too much tangible evidence of our business.
I think the bigger challenge will be the computer. I have been on it more this week and find myself doing more on line things when I could be reading or doing other things. I would like to get back to my early morning read and then move off it for the day.

We are also going to go on an out and out clutter war in the coming months to downsize our interior things. There are some things that I have placed too much value on and have not been willing to let go of. I'm hoping to change that.

Living Simply with Children
has been a great resource for me and I have continued to read Affluenza, as depressing as it is sometimes....It is the book club selection of the month so I will be discussing it with a bunch of other people in a couple of weeks.
I want to do a post just on that coming up, trying to gather my thoughts on it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Camera back!

My camera is fixed!!
Best buy has finally called. Tomorrow would have been 2 weeks and I was getting antsy. I never realized how much I actually used the thing! My 4 year old has been picking up the slack though. She has taken an entire gallery of photos...

She really captured some interesting every day things.
The We'll-replace-your-camera-even-if-you-leave-it-on-the-top-of-your

Totally. worth. it!!

The whole reason that the camera was broken was because L wanted to see if she could hold open the lens when she shut it off and It retracted.

I gotta give her credit, it took her SIX tries, but she was persistent and got it!
Of course, once the lens is forever open, apparently, the camera will then refuse to take pictures. Maybe it is just so irritated that a 4 year old could foil the lens-closing mechanism..
THAT is the first pic that Hubby took to test camera at Best Buy.
Kinda a nanny nanny booboo to Canon and Best Buy for promising us the fix or replace.
And that is the last photo that I'm putting on this blog post because my mom reads and she has Windows BC (AKA Dial-up) and it'll take her for-ever to get them all. So that she can call me and give me her opinion and comment on my post via cell phone..

Any money on how long before I'm back there again dealing with the juvenile geek squad guys?

Tomorrow I promise a post with some more ..er.. substance.
Tonight, I'm tired.

I still have to read my favorite other bloggers yet before bed!

Monday, May 12, 2008

If Your Appliances Are Avocado, They Probably Aren’t Green

NY Times article

love it!!
I just had to repeat this title, maybe it'll be the new standard for deciding on the energy efficiency of old appliances..

I always wonder if it makes more sense to wear out my appliances that I already have and then when they go, replace them with more energy efficient models. Then I'm keeping the landfills free of them a bit longer. Apparently though, there is a booming parts business for appliances out there.
My washer is a HE FL that I bought a few years back and instead of replacing it when it was bust this year, we replaced the whole drum instead. I was PISSED that I had to do that so soon but the more I think about it, the more I'm glad that I didn't buy a new one instead.
AND, the drum we replaced is out back and I think I may plant flowers in it!!

I think that things like, buying a new belt out of recycled materials when your old belt is still functioning is ridiculous though. Your old, first-run-materials belt is not using any additional energy or creating a bigger 'footprint' just sitting on your waist....
I think that the new rush of 'eco chic' (I've heard it called..) just promotes more of the same rampant consumerism. That's why I have an internal struggle with buying new reusable bags...I tend to just purchase second hand at the thrift store bags instead.
I think this should be required viewing by anyone wanting to buy ANYTHING, eco friendly or not..
It is one of my favorite quick films.

I still have yet to send Sears photos of my washer tub along with a scathing letter. Maybe I'm getting soft? No, must just be tired...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mama Day!

This was my 5th Mother's Day as an actual mother and I have celebrated differently every year.
This year, I started on the previous day by checking into a local establishment for the evening
(With kids of course) The *ahem* job that I have provided the stay for free (reimbursed) and breakfast for free (reimbursed)

The kids were more excited than me. They wanted to swim, tget in the hot tub and watch movies. I was just glad that I didn't have to make the beds we slept in or clean up anything that spilled on the floor.

(I did not plan on the lake of chocolate soy milk on the carpet or the face first crash into the bedside table resulting in a double nostril bleed.....a couple of times throughout the night.)

My gifts from my kids and husband were two great cookbooks that I was coveting:
Fresh From the Veggie Slow Cooker and Veganomicon

I can't wait to make something from both of them.

The kids decorated fabric and we made aprons from them for both Meemaws:The kids had a blast doing it. We did the one for my mom back when the kids were visiting her and she didn't even know.. I can't believe my sister let us do that on her tile!!

We put together little step by step photo albums too from the whole process. Fun for the kids and their moms....

And now it's belated but to all my mama friends:
Happy Mother's Day!
How'd YOU celebrate it?

Friday, May 9, 2008

And more on bags:

OK, so I have continued to use my reusable bags everywhere we go and have also purchased some for friends and family (Wait till you see what I got you for your birthday Mom!!)

AND.....I was watching the progress as reported by different companies. I read on Life Less Plastic that she has seen more people using paper bags than reusable at her local Whole Foods.

And the PBA (Progressive Bag Alliance) has actually said that :
Any plan to replace plastic bags with paper bags will yield negative
impacts on the environment. According to statistics published by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and other European studies, plastic bags use
40% less energy to produce, generate 80% less solid waste than paper, and
produce less than half the greenhouse gas emissions. Paper bags generate 70%
more emissions and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags. Studies
have also shown that one pound of paper requires 91% more energy to recycle
than one pound of plastic.

Now of course, this is a study that they commissioned (being as they are, by their own description "non-profit association of plastic bag manufacturers promoting environmentally responsible plastic bag use")

Is that kinda like the Big Pharms commissioning vaccine studies?

Granted reusable bags, use only the energy it takes to pull them out of your car/purse/backpack and carry them throughout the store..and since I always use a grocery cart inside the store, I use very little energy;)

ANYwhooslbeez....I asked the checker the other day at Sunflower, my local market that has done way with the plastic bags how THEY are doing? What are they seeing? He said from his point of view, he has seen more people using the reusable bags. His estimate was about 1/3 of his customers. This is a store that sells 6 different varieties of reusable bags though, so you should be able to find one to your liking. They have given a credit for reusable bags since I've been shopping there. (About 5 years now)
He also said that he has a few people that actually bring back the plastic or paper disposable bags to reuse at the store also.
Another option is do what we have done in my household:
Go to Goodwill and get some canvas/reusable bags. We have some interesting screened designs on our bags! Always good conversation starters!

My friend J just gave me a canvas bag today that was destined for the landfill until she rescued it--BRAND NEW--still with the creases in it that reads "Nurses, Dedicated to Caring" and it has a beautiful colorful design and a reinforced bottom on it!

There are a variety of sites dedicated to reusable bags. My favorite is, well, Reusablebags.com. They have a HUGE variety (and also some nice stainless steel water bottles!)

I'll have to keep watching to see how this change of lifestyle plays out because, seriously, for most people, this is a NEW idea. And some people aren't all that open to change.
But if my brother can use canvas grocery bags, ANYONE can...

  • How about you?
  • Are you using bags?
  • What kind?
  • From where?
  • For how long?
  • What made you start and have you missed the plastic ones?
Looking forward to hearing the feedback on this one...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Changing direction

We are changing the way we eat in our home.
We have been eating differently for a while, slowly changing the foods that we eat.
Bryce has been the lead in our diet, he has been a vegetarian of sorts for a long time. He has eaten fish and dairy though.
Starting this past Sunday, we have been meat free. I have ONE egg left in my fridge and when it is gone, we will not be buying anymore. I have been exploring different substitutions for eggs and will be trying some. Dairy will take a bit longer to completely give up. We rarely drink cow's milk, eat yogurt sometimes but use cheese in a lot. I have been trying some nutritional yeast cheese-like substitutions lately since we eat a lot of that anyway but haven't completely committed..
Here's one that I have used for a while now, got it from the Farm Vegetarian Cookbook back in college:**

from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes*
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp wet mustard

Mix dry ingredients in saucepan. Whisk in water. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until it thickens and bubbles. Cook 30 seconds, then remove from heat, whip in margarine and mustard. It will thicken as it cools, but will thin when heated, or when water is added. Makes 3 cups.

Note: If you'd like to lower the fat content of this recipe, use a tablespoon of margarine. This works just as well. It can also be prepared without using any margarine at all.

Variation: For a richer stretchier sauce that's good on pizza, substitute for the flour: 1/4 cup cornstarch and 2 Tbsp Flour. Instead of margarine, whip in 1/2 cup of oil after it cooks, and add as much as 1 cup of water at the end, or as needed to make a thick, smooth sauce that pours easily. Pour it on pizza and for the last few minutes of baking, put pizza under broiler for a few minutes to form a stretchy, golden brown speckled skin.

I wanted to give props to the following blogs for helping me:
Vegan Lunch Box A long time fave of mine, she's an inspiration
Happy Foody I have gotten a lot of recipes from her
Urban Vegan I got a great rice croquette recipe from her

And I could never forget the variety of recipe search sites out there like Allrecipes
that have a variety of meal options.

The last few days have been easy because I have not been able to eat much due to lingering stomach flu-ish issues. I did enjoy some tasty rice Krispie treats and veggie spag sauce over noodles last night though!

I'm gonna try and pass on the best recipes that we have and the easiest ones to throw together also. I also try and pass on good vegan/vegetarian cookbooks that we have enjoyed.
Off on the veggie journey!

**Birthing mamas--yes, that's the same "Farm"!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


L has been reading a book lately that we have had in our library for a while but she has not shown much interest in.

It is called Millions To Measure
She also has been walking around with a ruler and tape measure to measure things.
After reading the discussion in the book about the different systems, she has decided that metric should be the only system.

I told her that the scooter tachs were metric because it was from Europe.
She was even MORE endeared to metric after that!
There was also a story about how a space satellite was lost in space due to miscalculations by engineers from two different countries using two different measuring systems..
That worried her. She wanted to know why they didn't talk about it.
Maybe she'll be a mathematician someday
or a mediator?

Now she wants me to find a "meter stick"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Free at Last...

Well, we did it, we've gone TV free!
I am so happy to rid of that time robbing box.

It's still early but I have plans already. We have been trying to decide what to put there in the blank space where it was....
I'm thinking a desk to put my sewing machine on along with other craft stuff and the laptop when needed...

We had talked about bookshelves at one point also.
I will admit, I'm a little apprehensive about Thursday since we did watch those shows.

Tonight I read in a book Affluenza
that people who watch TV a lot have an inflated view of what Americans have. this causes their expectations to be inflated and they spend money that they don't have on things they don't need.
Again it's about the 'stuff' in our lives.
In the past 4 years, more Americans declared bankruptcy than graduated from college
We have TWICE as many shopping centers as High Schools.

Since 1950, we Americans have used up more resources than everyone who ever lived on Earth before then....

I'm hoping that the elimination of the TV will allow us to spend more quality time doing things we like rather than sit in front of the tube and WISH we had done something different.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Sad and Heavy Heart

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I received the news of a fellow mama's passing. Lois, a wonderful AP mama to 3 year old J and 22 mos old S, died suddenly at her home in the northern part of our state. She was a member of our local AP group.

She was pregnant with her third child.

I am having a difficult time putting into the words the incredible sadness I have for her girls and their father, Lois' husband. I cannot bear the sorrow that surrounds those left behind.

I think if my own children and can't even go there, with them not able to grasp the understanding and finality of a parent's death. My grief is deep for the whole family.
I will remember her and hug my babies tight hoping that I convey to them daily how much I truly love them

One of my fondest memories of her is watching her henna a fellow mama's baby swollen belly. She was so creative and talented.